What are the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a global framework to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They recognise that ending poverty must go hand-in-hand with strategies that build economic growth and address a range of social needs including education, health, social protection, equalities and job opportunities, while tackling climate change and environmental protection, peace and justice.
The SDG Accord
- Inspire, celebrate and advance the critical role that education has in delivering the SDGs and advocate the value they bring to governments, business and wider society.
- Annually report on progress in a way that shares learnings and best practice both nationally and internationally and presenting the SDG metrics at the annual UN High Level Political Forum
Following our first reporting period, in July 2019 a University and Colleges sector level report was published and presented at the UN High Level Political Forum at the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) event, as an official recognised tool*.
*HESI is a partnership between United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNESCO, United Nations Environment, UN Global Compact’s Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative, United Nations University (UNU), UN-HABITAT, UNCTAD and UNITAR.
Embedding the SDGs into the University
The University of Leeds is committed to using the SDGs to frame, steer and drive our sustainability activities. Find out about the range of different ways we are contributing towards the SDG’s and how you can get involved, through our latest Annual Sustainability Report.
In 2019, the University announced its sector-leading Seven Principles to Tackle the Climate Crisis. These bold commitments place sustainability at the heart of the institution. The principles were approved by the University’s Council, its governing body, and outline the ambitious steps the University is taking to support the global transition to a low carbon future. Through these seven principles, we seek to address a number of SDG’s including:
• SDG 4 Quality Education – through our commitments to continue to embed sustainability into our curriculum, educational engagement and outreach
• SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy – through our commitments to net zero and continuing to invest responsibly in companies which manage their affairs in a way which is consistent with Paris Climate Accord goals
• SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure – through our commitment to re-orientate our research towards innovations and solutions which contribute towards a low carbon future.
• SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities – through our commitments to work with local and regional government to develop sustainable travel systems for the region.
• SDG 13 Climate Action – through our net zero carbon targets for 2030 and 2050.
• SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – through our commitments to embed sustainability into institutional decision making
• SDG 17 Partnerships for the Goals – through our partnership with Leeds City Council and the Leeds Climate Commission, to support our combined goal of making Leeds a net-zero carbon city by 2030
The SDGs and Student Education
In our Seven Principles to Tackle the Climate Crisis, the University committed to further extend the Leeds Sustainable Discovery Theme programme to integrate sustainability into our teaching provision at all levels, and give opportunities to students of any discipline to take part in activities to promote sustainability.
The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum is a working group that feeds into the University Council. It is currently mapping all curriculum modules and programmes against the UN SDGs. The group also works to develop staff training and resources, enabling academics to further embed sustainability and the SDGs into their modules. For more information on sustainability in the curriculum, click here.
The SDGs and Research
Through local, national and international collaboration and research, we seek comparative approaches and develop international best practice towards implementing the SDGs. We do this through our award winning global research themes.
The University is specifically focusing our research on the SDGs and tackling the world’s biggest challenges to extend our global impact through supporting more than 70 Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) or Newton award research projects across over 40 different countries. Maintaining its mission to be at the forefront of delivering the Government’s key strategy for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people and working towards the UN SDGs, the University has now received more than £45 million from the GCRF over the last five years.
The GCRF requires research projects to foster cutting-edge research, international collaboration and economic development to advance the UN SDGs. Since the programme started, The University of Leeds has built partnerships with academics and NGOs in the developing world, investigating the key issues facing the world such as climate change and resilience, sustainable agriculture, pollution and environmental degradation, clean water supply, and improved health.
For further information on our GCRF project work and how we are contributing towards the SDG’s see: https://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4404/tackling_the_worlds_big_problems
You can see more of the amazing projects that we are involved in to progress the UN Sustainable Development Goals by visiting our downloads.
If either of these downloads are required in a different format, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further details of sustainability research at Leeds see our Sustainability Research Institute.